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IKEA PART II The Great IKEA Challenge

When we left off last week we were at the Ikea store, unattractively gaping at the impossibly gargantuan number of options in the furnishings warehouse.

We find Sam, who it turns out, didn’t sneak off. She is actually elbows deep in huge blue bin searching for coordinating sofa pillows.

Let’s stop a moment. This is good time to dispel some of the delusional dreams about the glamorous life of an interior designer. It certainly has its glam-moments, but more often than not you’re elbows deep in a blue bin full of pillows.

But anyway…

We leave IKEA, exhausted, and head back to the Beasley & Henley design studio. Sam is already diciphering the notes and measurments she wrote on the floor plan and trying to make sense of it all. Was that the Karlstad corner sofa or the Ektorp sectional? Is that number a 3 or an 8?

Back at the office Amanda, Sam’s assistant on this project, helps sort out all the details, and there are a lot! Along with Sam, Amanda searches the IKEA site for product images, double checks measurements, jots down pricing and slowly begins to put the presentation together for Lennar.

At this point Kim, interior detailer, enters the room looking for the furnishings dimensions so she can lay all the pieces into the CAD floor plan with proper sizes and details. Amanda hands over all she has, and not missing a beat, gets right back to the website and her fledgling presentation.

According to Lennar Homes, the idea of the IKEA home is to tell propestive homeowners- You can furnish you home in IKEA only and look how great it can look! Not just that, but this is how much it will cost. You can afford that!

Of course, it’s our job to make it look great, and we will.

Amanda hands the pricing list over to Leah, the new assistant. She’s quick on excel and soon her fingers are flying across the key board and the pricing begins.

A few minutes later I wander over to Amanda and Leah to ask how it’s going. When I get a muffled group response of, “It’g going” and no one looks up from their computer screen, I know that means it’s a good time to back away and let them do what they do.

As I leave I can’t help but look at the presentation as it nears completion. OMG this is going to be great!

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The phone rings and my Lennar contact is on the other end. She is so excited the thrills are just dripping from her voice.

“When will you be ready to show us the ideas for the two models?” she asks. I know she’s trying to be calm, but she’s really revved up to see how we are doing.

“Tuesday!” I volunteer hopefully. I’m not sure where Sam and her team are in the process, but I’m pretty sure it can happen.  I figure we’ll be ready on Monday, but Mondays are bad for client presentations. What if something goes wrong late in the process or someone gets sick and you can’t finish properly?  On a Monday there is not much you can do to fix it, but by Tuesday, well, we figure it out!

So Tuesday it is. I let the team know.  The response is clear as eyebrows are silently raised in my direction. Their pace picks up and I back out of the room.

One more time, selections are checked to make sure they coordinated in color and style with the ‘backgrounds’ in the home (ie the flooring, countertop, cabinetry etc). Each piece of furniture is properly sized for each room. Furnishings are scrutinized again with the end user in mind. Do they match the demographics?  Are the rooms family-friendly? Does each bedroom have a unique personality? Colors are coordinated. Artwork is selected.  Last minute reselections are made where needed. Double check. Triple check.

It’s Tuesday. Sam has her water and her game-face on. We load the car with the presentation boards and print outs and head off to the Lennar office.

It’s go time!